Human Energy Systems | Activity 4.5

Target Student Performance

Students use a diagrammatic carbon cycle model to investigate how oceans and seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres affect the annual cycle and a long-term trend in the atmospheric CO2 pool.

Resources You Provide

Resources Provided

Recurring Resources


Prepare one copy of 4.5 Seasons and Oceans Worksheet and one copy of Big Idea Probe: What Would Happen if We Cut Fossil Fuel Use in Half for each student. Prepare a computer and projector for the film and 4.5 Seasons & Oceans PPT. You may want to open the videos ahead of time on your computer as they will be shown during this lesson. Make sure students have their Learning Tracking Tool for Human Energy Systems available for the end of the lesson.


1. Introduce the Activity.

Display Slide 2 of the 4.5 Seasons & Oceans PPT to show students where they are in the instructional sequence.


This activity includes opportunities for both formative and summative assessment.


Watch the Pumphandle video a few times to allow students to ask questions and to check for comprehension of the many different components of the video.


This is an optional activity that you may skip if you have large numbers of special needs students. The content is interesting, but not essential for a basic understanding of the unit’s key goals.

Extending the Learning

Have students investigate the effects of ocean acidification:

Discuss other information that students have seen about global carbon cycling and climate change in the media, and how it compares with what they have worked with in this lesson.